Thursday, November 3, 2011


In this here writin’ thang, I never experienced the early-onset hubris I did my first few years in photography many decades ago.  I never imagined any of my writing was good or great or (horrors!) perfect. I never needed to be ‘taken down a peg or two’ in order to get back to honing my craft instead of patting myself on the back. Oh, some of my poetry was first class, but great poems are sometimes a gift that falls into the hands of a modestly aware human who has the good sense to write them down before they go back to where they came from. Prose ain’t like that. Prose is a marriage—a way of life –and sometimes just a fu_kin’ chore like scrubbin’ the floor.

No, I never suffered hubris (in case you are to lazy to look it up, hubris is a Greek word for the ‘sin of pride’ {the kind that goeth before the fall, eh?}).  But I was starting to suffer from the sin of complacency. I thought my writin’ was pretty good and was slowly getting better and wasn’t that just peachy. Well… Welllll, yesterday someone finally had the guts to not be diplomatic about criticizing my ‘best’ book—Surfing Vietnam. It was not as though he wasn’t trying his best to be diplomatic; it is just that he was born without the ‘diplomacy gene’. And to make it worse, my critic was intelligent and picked out some things to criticize that I secretly suspected were weak (“the heartbreak of psoriasis”), but was just too lazy to fix. I was chastened, but not wounded or angry. I was not motivated by the chastening to change anything about anything—my writing style or plans.  I just filed it, under ‘chastening’ and was gearing up to forget it, as I am wont to do with chastenings.

Then (ta da!) out of the blue, another person sends me an e mail praising the hell out of my tear-ass funny blogs and asking me why the hell I don’t write novels that are tear-ass funny, off the wall, and obsessed with sex.  Golly, I couldn’t answer the question of ‘why not’, so I let go and started writing a new novel that was tear-ass funny, off the wall, and obsessed with sex. No plot yet, no plan, just free-form writing… That felt good to me.

I betcha it’ll feel good to the reader too.

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